Sure, McDonnell is a long-time friend and close political ally of Labour’s new leader, and a formidable political persuader – as anyone who has witnessed him on the campaign trail or felt the steely force of his Commons rhetoric can testify.
McDonnell said he had made the comments in 2003 in a bid to try to help keep a peace deal, which largely ended three decades of sectarian violence, on track.
Challenged about the comments on BBC1’s Question Time Mr McDonnell said: “I accept it was a mistake to use those words, but actually if it contributed towards saving one life, or preventing someone else being maimed, it was worth doing because we did hold onto the peace process”.
‘There was a real risk of the republican movement splitting and some of them continuing the armed process.
McDonnell said his words had been wrong, and apologized “from the bottom of my heart” for giving offense.
“Because of the bravery of the IRA and people like Bobby Sands we now have a peace process”.
DUP leader Nigel Dodds this morning ridiculed Mr McDonnell’s “self-justificatory nonsense” and pointed out that it had been “ridiculed on social media and elsewhere”. “And people who seek to justify it should be ashamed of themselves“.
BRITAIN’S shadow chancellor has apologised for saying the IRA should be “honoured” – and for joking about assassinating Margaret Thatcher.
Last night he said: “It was an appalling joke”.
He said Labour backed a return of the 50p income tax rate, saying this would be debated within the party, but was not advocating pulling out of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation .
“I said afterwards “why didn’t you sing?’ and he said ‘actually I normally do”, but it was quite a moving event and he was casting his mind back to the war”, Mr McDonnell said.
“But how much it’s based on the fact that his political profile has changed, I don’t know, but it certainly was offensive at the time and it is offensive now”. “But we too want to see reform”.
Corbyn and his team have come under fire from Britain’s predominantly right-wing press after a decisive win over more centrist rivals for the Labour leadership. “I thought it was a silly thing for Jeremy Corbyn not to do”.
“No-one wants to go back to those ideas”.
Mr Dodds put it to David Cameron: “The plaques at the entrance to this chamber in memory of Airey Neave, Robert Bradford, Ian Gow, Sir Anthony Berry – serving members of this house, murdered by terrorists, as they stood up for democracy and the British way of life, are a reminder of the savagery and the brutality of terrorism, as are the gravestones and the headstones in Northern Ireland and right across this land”.
He claimed he had been attempting to draw republicans into the peace process.
“There were risks, but it was worth taking because now people are not dying on the streets of Northern Ireland“.
Fearless of Jeremy Corbyn to opt to put John McDonnell up for the first Question Time of the #newpolitics.